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Public Statements

Stop the Overprinting (STOP) Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. LEE of New York. I thank the gentleman for yielding and for his assistance in bringing this bill to the floor.

Mr. Speaker, our national debt just recently broke $14 trillion. It is well past time for Washington to get serious about cutting spending, and that effort starts right here in our own House.

With this in mind, Speaker Boehner proposed a measure to cut every Member's budget by 5 percent. In a 410-13 vote, the measure to save $35 million easily passed. It's called leading by example.

Another simple way to continue this process is by passing legislation that I brought up in the last Congress and which became part of the YouCut initiative, which gives all taxpayers the ability to vote on what Federal spending they want Congress to cut.

When a Member of Congress introduces or originally cosponsors a bill, we automatically receive multiple printed copies of the legislation, regardless if we have asked for them.

When the health care bill was introduced, the Government Printing Office printed and delivered over 100,000 pieces of paper to the original cosponsors alone. That is just one single piece of legislation we're talking about. At the start of Congress, the Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act, which repeals the onerous 1099 provision of the health care bill, won the support of 245 original cosponsors, all of whom will automatically receive multiple printed copies of the bill.

For each bill introduced, there are between 300 and 475 copies printed. This overprinting of bills is wasteful and inefficient at a time when we need to be tightening our budgetary belts and looking for greater efficiencies. In the 111th Congress, nearly 14,000 bills were introduced. That is a lot of unnecessary and costly printing.

That is why I introduced the Stop the OverPrinting Act--to save both time and money. This bill is a near mirror image of the legislation I introduced last year in H.R. 4640, keeping with the initial intent to strictly end the wasteful practice of printing copies of legislation for Members.

However, note that this bill will not hinder the daily operation of the House, the archiving process, or affect the transparency that this Congress has made a priority. This legislation will lead to significant savings each and every year--money that can be used, frankly, for better uses.

With technological advancements, we have become a paperless world. It is a waste of taxpayer dollars to automatically print and send multiple unsolicited copies of something that is readily available online. Should a Member's office truly need a printed copy, they will still be available in the document rooms and also in the committees.

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Mr. LEE of New York. Too many people in Washington don't seem to care about the dollar amount unless it has a ``B'' or a ``T'' after it, and that is the type of mentality that needs to change here in Washington and was mandated in the November elections. We need to be looking for cost savings and turning over every possible rock. With our current deficit, there should be no such thing as spending cuts just being a drop in the bucket. Every dollar and every cent counts in the real world, and it should here, too.

The money we spend here in Congress is not ours; it is the people's. House Republicans have been stressing this for some time, and together we proposed over $155 billion in savings for taxpayers throughout the 111th Congress with the YouCut initiative alone. Through this program, Americans asked Congress to support spending cuts on a wide variety of issues, including the End the Stimulus Advertising Act, which would have eliminated the unneeded highway signs notifying the public of stimulus-funded projects. With no real purpose, tens of millions of dollars could have been saved. Also considered were proposals requiring Federal employees to pay back taxes, stopping the cycle of bailouts, and putting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac back on budget.

The American people have spoken loudly that we must get our fiscal house in order. While previous efforts to curb wasteful spending were not successful, I am hoping that under our new leadership we will have far better results.

I would like to thank the leadership for their support in working to implement laws that will reform flawed aspects of our government and save taxpayer dollars, be it a dollar, a million, or a billion. I am encouraged by the fact that the new majority is listening to the will of the people to eliminate inefficiency and waste. Passing the Stop the OverPrinting Act today is an important step in beginning this process.

I urge all my colleagues to support this commonsense bill.

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